Mary Beard says damehood is a ‘smashing honour'

University of Cambridge professor Mary Beard has been honoured as a Dame Commander. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Historian and broadcaster Mary Beard has been made a dame at Buckingham Palace, five years on from receiving her OBE for services to classical scholarship.

The ceremony was conducted Prince William on behalf of the Queen.

The Cambridge University professor, well known for her programmes about the ancient world, will receive the damehood for services to the study of classical civilisation.

Dame Mary joked with Prince William that she could be his children's Latin tutor. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Professor Beard said she offered to become the personal Latin tutor to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's three children as she collected her damehood from Buckingham Palace.

She said she would do "anything" to ensure princes George and Louis, and Princess Charlotte, grew up with an understanding of the ancient Roman language.

Speaking moments after she received the honour for services to the study of classical civilisation from William at Buckingham Palace, Dame Mary told the Press Association: "Well, I hope he was listening. Of course he was very polite and said: 'I'll have to get you to teach them', and I said: 'Anything!"'

She joked: "I didn't quite say: 'You get the little squits to learn Latin...'but I did say you get them to learn because it is very important.

Professor Beard was at Buckingham Palace to collect her damehood from the Duke of Cambridge. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The 63-year-old, who collected her OBE from the Prince of Wales in 2013, married art historian Robin Cormack in 1985. They have a daughter, Zoe and son Raphael.

Prof Beard will be joined at the palace by engineer Roma Agrawal, who worked on the Shard building in central London, and Rose Cory, the late Queen Mother's milliner. Both will receive OBEs.